No matter when the game is played, when Lafayette and Lehigh get together on the gridiron, it almost always seems to be close and come down to a few plays.
This April, the same weekend as The Masters, Lehigh and Lafayette will be playing the first-ever Rivalry football game in the spring, a most atypical 156th meeting in the most-played college football game that’s simply called “The Rivalry”.
When you look at it in terms of the development of this team – and how this leads into next fall – there’s a lot more positives to draw than a normal fall season when the team is 0-2.
Two Ethan Torres FGs, one 26 yards, and one 24 yards, were enough to put the Bucknell Bison atop the Patriot League South Division, shutting out Lehigh at Murray Goodman Stadium 6-0.
An already-crazy Patriot League season still had some craziness left to reveal this week, as the 156th meeting between Lafayette and Lehigh was postponed due to a Tier 1 exposure in the Lafayette program.
In a way, the opening drive which ended with zero Lehigh points summed up the entire afternoon.
BETHLEHEM, PA – The Holy Cross Crusaders beat the Lehigh Mountain Hawks 20-3 at Murray Goodman Stadium in the first college football game contested by both schools in over 450 days.
It is uncharted waters for both teams, with plenty of questions to answer playing an unprecedented Patriot League spring football season. But many of the principal contributors in that 24-17 game more than a year ago in Bethlehem will be suiting up tomorrow.
For this Lehigh team, who has gone through this unique journey back to playing games that count, it feels like this weekend is almost as much a celebration of what football means to them as much as it is a Patriot League conference game against Holy Cross at Murray Goodman Stadium at noon this Saturday.
It’s been a very, very long wait, but this weekend, finally, we have a weekend of Patriot League football to look forward to.
“I’ve been very impressed with the enthusiasm and attitude across the board,” Lehigh head coach Tom Gilmore told me. “Getting the opportunity to be on the field and to be working towards competitive opportunities has really motivated everyone. It just feels different out there this semester. There’s an excitement in the air whenever we’re on the field.”
Today, the Patriot League was the final FCS football conference to unveil their spring competition schedule to the public, as a part of their release announcing the schedules of twenty-two different sports being contested in the spring.
The signing day celebrations sometimes came with masks, but that didn’t make them any less important or meaningful to a group of athletes that have had a senior year like no other.
At the campuses at Lehigh and Lafayette, and the communities that surround them, there is a void in the third week in November, that most are trying to fill with virtual Rivalry activities and hope for a spring football season, making it not a cancelling of The Rivalry, but merely a delay to contest the game when it’s safer to have a more normal gameday experience.
On Tuesday, Lehigh University temporarily suspended training and practices for all sports programs after several Lehigh students tested positive for the coronavirus.
For months, fans, players, and Lehigh football head coach Tom Gilmore knew that this game wasn’t going to happen on this day. But Gilmore is trying to make the best of a difficult situation.
I have five burning questions on the issue that might help to give clarity on what a spring season for the Patriot League might look like.
Playing a radically shortened season of six “regular-season” games would allow for most teams to only have a season that is marginally longer than what they would do for spring practices. And from those games, it is possible to come up with an FCS Championship.
Hope is not a strategy, and the truth is any form of national strategy has failed in an effort to have college football this fall. In a community like the Lehigh Valley, it’s a crushing loss to the coronavirus.
If these are the only two plans that are actively being considered by the Ivy League, it means that, effectively, all out-of-conference games involving Ivy League opponents are cancelled for the fall.
The Patriot League Office announced on Monday guidance regarding the 2020 fall competition, a list of principles to “guide the development of a Patriot League 2020 Athletics Plan.”
Lehigh head coach Tom Gilmore will be the first person to tell you that he’d prefer to have a regular spring assessment season for his football team.
In the past, college football has survived through outbreaks of disease and mass disruptions, and how the sport handled those circumstances provide a possible roadmap to a late post-COVID-19 football season. Looking to the past, how could we adapt that to today?
It was an historic week that nobody could have foreseen.
I’m proud to unveil this year’s edition of the Patsy Ratings.
It is rare that the MVP of the Lehigh/Lafayette game is a kicker, but that’s exactly what happened this afternoon at Murray Goodman Stadium as the Leopards beat their bitter Mountain Hawk rivals for the first time in five years in a 17-16 win.
This season, though, there isn’t the same feeling of continuity that permeated many of these other games. Part of that comes from the fact that, unusually for The Rivalry, both teams are packed with young underclassmen, many of them playing in their first Rivalry ever. Normally, The Rivalry is filled with narratives. This season, it feels like the master narrative is waiting to be written with two teams that, even at this late date, have unknowns.
Going into this game, Lehigh’s defense had a serious challenge on their hands – to stop, or a least slow down, the leading rusher in FCS, Sacred Heart RB Julius Chestnut. For three quarters, they did just that, but in the fourth quarter Chestnut would score a pair of rushing touchdowns to lifted Sacred Heart to a 13-6 victory.
It’s highly unusual for Lehigh (4-5, 3-2) and Sacred Heart (6-4, 4-2)to be playing a non-conference game this late in the season, but for both teams, important milestones remain.
We are two weeks away from the end of the Patriot League regular season, and there is a very distinct possibility that the winner of the League is going to have a losing record.
It was, depending on your perspective, either the roughest Lehigh offensive performance of the season, or the greatest Bucknell defensive performance of the year.
Holy Cross will be trying to cement their hold on the top of the Patriot League standings when they host Lafayette this weekend. They could clinch at least a share of the title and FCS Playoff autobid if they win and Lehigh loses at Bucknell.
Most games between head coaches in their first years at a school are ones where the opponents need to feel themselves out, thanks to unfamiliarity. That will not be the case this weekend, as Cecchini and Gilmore have more than two decades of awareness of one another and their tendencies. It should have the feel of a brotherly fight.
For the players of both programs, it was more about demonstrating how much they had improved over that battle of 1-6 teams on a wet, rainy, homecoming game a year ago in Worcester. Both teams showed exactly how much more they were than those teams with losing records last year, and in the end, Holy Cross showed that they were one play better than the Mountain Hawks on this afternoon.
In the final minute, Holy Cross made one more play than Lehigh.
November in the Lehigh Valley is known for potentially frosty temperatures, blazing red and yellow fall colors, and apple picking season.
Don’t expect anything chill at Murray Goodman Stadium this Saturday, where the combined heat of the Holy Cross Crusaders (4-4, 2-0) and Lehigh Mountain Hawks (4-3, 3-0) should be radiating from both teams.
After their 27-24 win over Georgetown – their third conference game won on very memorable final plays – what is the Mountain Hawks’ secret for pulling out these conference wins?
Another week, another nail-biting game with the game in doubt in the closing seconds. Fans of of the Mountain Hawks might have been standing, perhaps cheering, perhaps looking away, unable to watch whether the 27 yard FG goes through the uprights.
The Patriot League sees Fordham with a week off and features six conference members in action. Lehigh looks to get their conference record to 3-0, Holy Cross looks to keep pace and remain undefeated in league play, and Lafayette and Bucknell will do battle to see who can remain in the title race.
Last season, Lehigh football suffered through a bunch of firsts that Mountain Hawk football fans had no desire to experience. One important one came on the campus of Georgetown on October 20th, 2018.
Up until that point, in the modern era, the Lehigh football team had not lost to Georgetown.
Before the biggest game of the year so far for the Lehigh football program, senior WR Dev Bibbens was left off the depth chart for the Fordham game. Two weeks ago, the New Hope, Pennsylvania native was leveled by a vicious hit to the midsection from a Colgate defensive back, and he didn’t return in […]
This week, an unlikely battle for first place in the Patriot League is on the line in the Bronx, and Lafayette and Georgetown battle it out to see if they can get themselves into the league title race.
Both teams find themselves sitting tied atop the Patriot League standings, playing for first place, and unlike last year, there will be no shortage of passion on the field at Jack Coffey Field at 1:00 PM this Saturday.
It was a week of thrilling conference rivalries, and it’s the “Military Classic of the South” that yielded the best story of them all.
Nobody at Andy Kerr Stadium was sitting down during the last play of the game.
Two enormous conference games loom this week, including one of the better Patriot League rivalry games in Lehigh at Colgate. Holy Cross at Bucknell also kicks off league play for both teams.
To Colgate fans, Lehigh is returning to the scene of the crime this weekend.
That’s because the Raiders’ last Patriot League conference loss came to Lehigh on their home field, Andy Kerr Stadium, two years ago back on October 7th, 2017.
On a hot, humid late September afternoon at Murray Goodman Stadium, Gilmore won his first football game as head coach, finally outlasting visiting Merrimack 10-3 in a game where defense and special teams were the order of the day.
It wasn’t the sort of game for the NFL’s Red Zone channel. It wasn’t for people who love power rushing, precision passing, or turnover-free ball. But it was a win that the Lehigh Mountain Hawks will happily take. The Lehigh Mountain Hawks had six sacks and kept Merrimack out of the end zone, and rode […]
League play starts next week, but the teams of the Patriot League need some help in out-of-conference this week if at all possible. As a conference, the Patriot League is a combined 4-20 out of conference, with one of those wins coming against a Division III school. With an FBS school, several daunting Ivies, and a CAA school, fans of Patriot League schools are hoping for upsets this week.